In order for someone to be convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) in Fresno, California, it must be proven that you drove a vehicle. When an officer has not seen the person driving, the question of driving is always an issue. This may make a difference when it comes to a jury finding a person guilty of a DUI.
Driving requires volitional movement of a vehicle. Moving the vehicle even a few inches constitutes "driving" the vehicle. A person is considered to be driving a motor vehicle when he or she is steering or controlling a vehicle which is in motion, even if the motor is off at that time.
In some instances, volitional movement can be determined by circumstantial evidence, which means that some reasonable inference may be drawn that the defendant was the driver. For example, was the person found standing alone next to the vehicle after an accident? Officers will also try to gain a confession from the person in order to use it to prosecute the individual.
In some instances, a person may be driving, but he or she may not be driving a vehicle. To determine what constitutes a vehicle, the courts have found that a device equipped with a motor that could be driven on a highway is considered a vehicle. As you may have guessed, bicycles without motors are not considered vehicles. However, bicycles with a motor, tractors, golf carts, forklifts, motorized scooter, carts or any other device that has a motor that can be driven on a highway is a vehicle. Airplanes, streetcars, cable cars, trains, and boats are not vehicles, but it is still illegal to operate any of these devices while under the influence.
As you can see, the law is unclear on what constitutes driving and what type of “vehicle” is required to be used. If you have questions on whether you were driving a motor vehicle and the officer arrested you because of a DUI, contact my office to discuss your case now.